Curtis Granderson is a Major League Baseball All-Star, Outfielder for the New York Mets and Founder of the Grand Kids Foundation.
Curtis Granderson grew up in Lynwood, Illinois, just south of Chicago – the son of two educators. His father Curtis Sr. was an elementary school Dean and Physical Education teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary and his mom, Mary, a Chemistry teacher at Currie Metropolitan High School, leaving an indelible bond of education and sports on a young Curtis Granderson.
Participating in youth little league, it didn't take long for Curtis to showcase a natural talent for the great game of baseball. By the time he was a senior in high school, Curtis was recruited by a long-list of Universities. He selected the University of Illinois-Chicago, staying close to his roots, where he joined the UIC Flames Baseball team.
In 2002, Curtis was drafted by the Detriot Tigers and made his MLB debut with the team in 2004. After an All Star 2009 season he was traded to the New York Yankees, where he spent four seasons in pinstripes before entering free agency in 2013 and making the move across town to the New York Mets.
Among Curtis Granderson's Major League Baseball accolades are the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, Silver Slugger Award and three-time MLB All Star, to name a few. Baseball accomplishments aside, what matters most to Curtis is what happens off the field.
In 2007, Curtis established the Grand Kids Foundation to improve educational experiences for youth nationwide, as well as helping to re-establish baseball opportunities for inner city youths.
As Chairman of the Board, Curtis is an integral part of the Grand Kids Foundation and is heavily involved in program development. In 2009, Curtis released a children’s book, All You Can Be, which shares personal stories from his youth encouraging children to chase after their dreams. Proceeds from All You Can Be benefit the Grand Kids Foundation. Curtis also acts as the official MLB Spokesperson for The White House’s Let’s Move anti-obesity campaign and Drink Up water initiative, as well as a Major League Baseball International Ambassador and member of the MLB On-Field Diversity Task Force.
To date, Curtis Granderson Stadium at UIC is being utilized by dozens of inner city youth groups, in addition to the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, MLB athletes from over a half dozen teams, UIC baseball/softball players and local middle/high school athletes. The indoor/outdoor complex is also home to Granderson's Grand Kids Foundation's Youth Clinics, which occur semi-annually. Consequently, the facility has received praise from the likes of Jonathan Mariner (Executive VP and CFO of MLB), Ken Williams (Executive VP of Chicago White Sox) and Darrell Miller (Director of MLB Urban Youth Academy).
Granderson’s gift of $5 million to UIC is the largest known one-time donation from a professional athlete to their alma mater, according to Sports Illustrated.